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March/April 2006: The Best Philippine Short Stories

Born four years before the Spanish-American War, Paz Marquez-Benitez was among the first Filipinos to write in English. Her short story "Dead Stars," first published in the Philippines Herald in 1925, is regarded as the earliest modern Philippine short story.

As a teacher of short-story writing at the University of the Philippines, Ms. Marquez-Benitez influenced a generation of Filipino writers of the English language.

Paz Marquez-Benitez

Best Philippine Short Stories Logo: a typewriter with text

The Best Philippine Short Stories appears to have been an online magazine that published classic Philippine short stories, like "Dead Stars" or "Servant Girl" by Estrella D. Alfon, as well as new stories — some for the first time.

It's unclear whether or not new issues of The Best Philippine Short Stories are forthcoming, but if nothing else, the website serves as a great repository of Philippine literature in English.

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University (Go Huskies!) also includes a sample of Philippine short stories in English, including "The Witch" by Edilberto K. Tiempo and "How My Brother Leon Brought Home A Wife" by Manuel E. Arguilla.

The NIU project also includes an article by Christine F. Godinez-Ortega titled "The Literary Forms in Philippine Literature," which briefly details the history of Philippine literature from pre-colonial times to the present.

(A good friend of mine moved to the Philippines in March 2006. I wish him all the best in his new home.)



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